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Basketball Teams Feted at Banquet

By Joel Washburn
washburn@mckenziebanner.com
Posted 5/3/22

McKENZIE (May 1) — McKenzie Lady Rebels and Rebels 2021-22 basketball teams were feted to a banquet and honored for their unprecedented successes. Never in the history of McKenzie athletes have two teams earned state berths in the same year. Including the 2021 McKenzie Rebel football team and golf teams, it was the third and fourth team to earn state berths in the same school year.

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Basketball Teams Feted at Banquet

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McKENZIE (May 1) — McKenzie Lady Rebels and Rebels 2021-22 basketball teams were feted to a banquet and honored for their unprecedented successes. Never in the history of McKenzie athletes have two teams earned state berths in the same year. Including the 2021 McKenzie Rebel football team and golf teams, it was the third and fourth team to earn state berths in the same school year.

McKenzie Lady Rebels are the first female state championships.

“We were the last team playing,” said John Wilkins, coach of the Lady Rebels. The 31-2 Lady Rebels had a deep bench, mainly because the ladies bought into the program, made 1000s of practice shots, and relied on each other, sharing the ball and credit.

Wilkins is in his tenth year as coach in McKenzie. He now coaches both the men and ladies.

Three ladies were all-state in Class 1A: Savannah Davis, Briley Auvenshine and Savannah Davis, who was also state tournament MVP. Davis was also MVP of the District and Region. The girls won the district, region and state tournaments. All District winners were Dani Dyer, Briley Auvenshine, Kylie Reynolds, Mikaela Reynolds, Katie Chesser, and Savannah Davis. All Region was Dani Dyer, Briley Auvenshine, and Savannah Davis.

The team’s assistant coach was Ashley Barker Lowe, who Wilkins said ‘is like part of the (Wilkins) family. She was a player on the MHS girls team, and babysat for the Wilkins while she was in high school. She was very involved in coaching and leading many efforts.

Award winners were: Katie Chesser — Most Charges, Sixth Man; Mikaela Reynolds — Deflection Leader; Miss Rebel — Savannah Davis; Gotta Have Heart — Dani Dyer (the lone senior), who was credited for providing team leadership. Davis was honored with a basketball commemorating her 1000-point career. The 1000-point was earned during the semi-final state game against Gleason.

In her farewell address, Dyer praised the coaches for setting a high standard and for have a Christ-centered focus. She thanked them for taking time away from their families.

Lady Rebels included: Dani Dyer, Kylie Reynolds, Briley Auvenshine, Katie Chesser, Madison Gilbert, Hannah Dillingham, Savannah Davis, Mikaela Reynolds, Sophie Pate, and Ally Gibson. Managers were Gracie Henderson, Allie Mansfield, Jaleah Moore, Jacey Pinson, Anna Robinson, and Claire Wilkins; Coaches were John Wilkins and Ashley Lowe.

McKenzie Rebels
A football season that extended into the first week of December hindered multi-sport athletes from practicing or playing basketball until football season ended. Wilkins said a season is not about where you start, but where you finish. The slow start was reversed when the team won the district, region, and finished in the top eight in the state tournament.

McKenzie Lady Rebels and Rebels hosted an unprecedented two substate games in the McKenzie gymnasium within days of each others. Both ended in sectional wins and trips to the state tournament.

All-District players were Tate Surber, Marquez Taylor, Bryson Steele, Zayden McCaslin, and Stafford Roditis.

All-Region were Zayden McCaslin and Bryson Steele with Marquez Taylor earning Regional MVP.

Award winners were: Newcomer — Tate Surber; Sharp Shooter — Stafford Roditis; Push the Floor Award — Marquez Taylor; Sixth Man Award — Zach Aird; Got to Have Heart —Zayden McCaslin; and Mr. Rebel — Bryson Steele. Managers were Gracie Henderson, Allie Laser, Carson Burke, Giancarlo Cevallos, and Landry Smith. The team was coached by John Wilkins and assisted by Hunter Herrin and Preston Henderson.

Jennifer Ognibene, sponsor of the cheerleaders, praised the cheerleaders for their service during extended football and basketball seasons. They started August 13 and cheered for seven months through football and basketball - sometimes on Fridays for football and through the week for basketball.

Cheerleaders were Captain Taylor Hall, Co-Captain Jessica Moore, Alajah Gilbert, Ava Jones, Parker Lyons, Macey Mayo, Belle O’Brien, Brett Toombs, Kaida Walton, Abbie Young, Reese Gallimore, Emmy McMullin, Lydia Pate, Laila Scott, and Abbi Sumrok.

Award winners were: Best Team Player — Jessica Moore; Awesome Attitude — Ava Jones; Most Spirit - Ava Warman; and Best All Around — Taylor Hall.

Jessica Moore was honored to receive the Taylor Buckley Award. Buckley died in a car accident when she was in high school.

The Andy Camp Award was given to Zayden McCaslin and Savannah Davis. Andy Camp died in a car crash as he was returning to Murray State University. He was a 1981 MHS graduate, scholar, and ‘fit in’ with anyone, said his brother, Brad. The award honors school citizenship, attitude, and academics. Camp’s parents, John and Karen, were in attendance. Both are retired educators at McKenzie. She was a player on the MHS Rebelettes team and was an all-state basketball player.

The Barbara Boyd Memorial Scholarship was presented by Tim McBride on behalf of the Boyd family. She died two years ago and was one of the McKenzie basketball’s biggest supporters. Recipients must exhibit academics, character and leadership. Boyd was a former teacher at MHS and played for the MHS Rebelettes. The two recipients of the $500 scholarship were Dani Dyer and Zayden McCaslin.

McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland said roadside signage is ready to install to denote the MHS Lady Rebels’ state championship. Holland’s son was on the 2006 baseball championship team.

She read proclamations honoring the Lady Rebels and Savannah Davis for being named Miss Basketball, TSSAA Class 1A.

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